A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Welcome to our series highlighting the music we have here at Thomas Ford Memorial Library. Each week of 2013 we will discuss one of our favorite songs from the collection. Classical or Country, Hip-Hop or Heavy Metal, we’ll be blogging for every taste.
I usually pick my way through a new album almost at random, skipping ahead, then jumping back, repeating certain songs over and over. Eventually entire albums grow on me, but it’s rarely an immediate thing. With Royal Thunder’s CVI, though, it took exactly 18 seconds of the first song before I knew I was into this album for the long haul.
“Parsonz Curse” starts with a slow hi-hat and an old school Iommi-esque bent guitar note. Then singer Mlny Parsonz takes the first few lines with grit, growl, and a kind of bluesy commitment. It will immediately make you realize how much you’ve missed this kind of classic rock singing.
There’s a lot of other good things going on here, but first lets talk about that voice. It’s not just a great rock n’ roll voice in timbre and attitude and all that, it also carries the song in a way very few heavy metal/hard rock acts will let a vocalist do these days. Not only are Mlny’s vocals the focus of the song—instead of the guitar riffs—they’re also a huge part of the song’s atmospherics. Besides the doubled vocals that form the main melody, you can hear Mlny’s voice in harmonies that occasionally sweep into the mix, in howling improvisations that hover in the background of the track, in trippy whispering stereo effects, and as the main noisemaker in the song’s thunderous crescendo. It’s a diverse and epic performance.
But I also love what Royal Thunder does as a band to support that performance. Mlny doubles on bass, Josh Weaver handles the guitars, and Jesse Stuber the drums. Sure, they’re heavy, and Sabbathy, and so on, but they give their sludgey riffs and power chords space. It’s that negative space—the quieter moments, the shifts in tempo, the ambient touches—that gives the more claustrophobic, heavier passages their impact. It makes for smart, wonderfully arranged and recorded metal that still has a gut-wrenching emotional pull.
You can take a listen to it below, and check it out from the library’s rock collection (781.66 ROY).
Review by Matthew